Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Lowlights of 2020: A Year For the History Books




2020 was a year of unprecedented death, pestilence & civil unrest in the United States.  Income inequality is at an all-time high; cities are on fire both at the hands of angry protesters & the imminent climate crisis.  It's been an especially shitty year & it's hard to even pick the worst parts.  It will undoubtedly be one for the history books, though we're all anxious to put it behind us in the present.  Who wants to relive this nightmare?

But it's important to log these things for posterity so the details are not forgotten.  We can either learn from history or repeat it, and nobody wants a repeat of 20-fucking-20.  Worryingly, many people are acting as if it's just some random bad calendar year instead of the result of unbridled human greed & narcissism.  That's a surefire way to ensure we repeat it or make things even worse going forward.  (Yes, things can get worse).  Much can be learned by reflecting on where we went wrong, both as individuals and as a society.

So without further ado, here are the worst parts of 2020 in no particular order.  Feel free to Google and fact-check anything here or add to it in the comments: 

__________________________________________________________________________________ 


*  Arrival of SARS-CoV-2 in the U.S. in early 2020.  Immediately before its arrival, a meme circulated joking that the '20s always started with a pandemic or plague.  

*  Killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake & Rayshard Brooks by police.  These events spark protests across the country, some of which turn violent.  Police killed 168 Black Americans in the first 8 months of 2020 alone.  

*  The government bailing out corporations instead of giving working people a basic income, rent freezes, universal healthcare or other means to stay home & fight the pandemic.  Individuals were given a one-time $1,200 stimulus check that amounts to around $6 per day when stretched over the course of the year.  

*  People using their cars as projectiles to mow down protesters in multiple cities similar to the Charlottesville Car Attack...and onlookers attempted to defend the killers.

* Former presidential candidate Herman Cain dies of COVID-19 after attending a Trump rally in Tulsa sans mask.  Shortly before dying, he Tweets a short rant against mask mandates from his hospital bed. 

*  Federal agents in unmarked vehicles snatch people off the streets in Portland & other cities.  Police also killed anti-fascist protester Michael Forest Reinoehl in custody 5 days after he killed a Trump supporting protester at a Portland rally.  Contrast this with police treatment of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who shot 3 protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin with an AR-15 semi-automatic style rifle and was taken into custody without incident.  

*  President Trump wishing known pedophile/child trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell "well" at a press conference.  This was followed immediately by the #SaveOurChildren social media campaign by Trump supporters, likely in an attempt to deflect from his "gaffe".  

*  The USPS debacle:  Sorting machines were dismantled & removed from post offices across the country in an unprecedented move by Louis Dejoy, Postmaster General.  This resulted in people not receiving their medications & other vital mail as a result.  

*  Mass of evictions that dwarfed those of the 2008 housing crisis.  As usual, Native American, Black, LGBT, disabled & Hispanic renters have been most heavily affected. 

* As of July, 47% of American families were dealing with hunger.  

*  The government forcing teachers & students to go back to school in the Fall by threatening to pull federal funding if they failed to resume in-person classes after COVID cases skyrocketed all summer.

*  Wildfires in California turn the skies orange & sepia, burning millions of acres & killing several people.  Temperatures in Death Valley, CA, reached an all-time high of 130-degrees Fahrenheit over the summer.  These events are a result of climate change but no politician in either party is proposing a serious green plan to address it, nor are our mainstream media outlets reporting on it as such.

*  The president admits knowing from the beginning how deadly COVID was & downplaying it after a year of holding largely maskless rallies.  Nothing is done--he's not impeached or otherwise punished.  Deaths reach 185,000 around this time.

*  Police shoot 13-year-old autistic child Linden Cameron in his home during a call for assistance by the boy's mother in Glendale, Utah.  The boy was unarmed & having a mental health crisis.  He was left with injuries to his shoulder, ankles, intestines, bladder and colon, as well as nerve damage.  

*  Trump cutting payroll taxes as a means to stimulate the economy & promising to permanently end the payroll tax if re-elected.  This would spell the end for the Social Security Disability & Retirement programs, with some arms of the program ending as soon as 2021.  In addition, the money saved by holding out these taxes will have to be paid back by workers & is considered a loan rather than an actual stimulus or bonus.  

*  Jeff Bezos becomes the first man worth $200 billion while unemployment soars & his workers in Amazon factories struggle with harsh working conditions & low pay.  

*  Joe Biden vetoing Medicare For All during a pandemic despite it being part of the Democratic Party platform supported by a majority of Democrat voters.  He's also promised to increase the military budget past its current $7 billion mark & plans to enforce the penalty for those who can't afford private health insurance, placing his stance on healthcare to the right of Trump's.  To seal the deal, he picks a former prosecutor & police officer as his Vice President and replies that he "supports police" when asked whether he supports the Black Lives Matter movement.  

* Untimely deaths of many beloved public figures:  Kobe Bryant, Naya Rivera, Carl Reiner, Little Richard, Chadwick Boseman, Toots Hibbert, Regis Philbin, Wilford Brimley, Kelly Preston, Charlie Daniels, Nick Cordero, Hugh Downs, John Lewis, Larry Kramer, Fred Willard, Andre Harrell, Jerry Stiller, Roy Horn, Cady Groves, Brian Dennehy, Eddie Van Halen, Sean Connery, Alex Trebek, Johnny Nash, Nikki McKibbin, Natalie Desselle-Reid, Brodie Lee, John Prine & MF DOOM.    

* A terrible year for hurricanes & tropical storms.  5 cyclones were active at one time in September:  Sally, Teddy, Paulette, Renee, Vicky.  The last time there were five storms at once in the Atlantic was 49 years ago in 1971. Multiple floods plagued the Southern states as well. More evidence of climate change.

* The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which fell a couple months shy of the 2020 election. This left her spot on the Supreme Court open. Within hours of her death, Mitch McConnell vowed to have the Senate vote on president Trump's nominee to fill her seat before the November 3rd election against her dying wish.

* Courts failed to indict any of the 3 officers involved in the Breonna Taylor killing for her actual murder, charging one of them only for "wanton endangerment" for the bullets that went through her neighbors' walls. Protests that night in Louisville, Kentucky turned violent, with 2 police officers getting shot along with 2 other individuals, one of whom died.

* Former Congressman Ron Paul has a stroke during a livestream video, triggering an outpouring of concern from viewers.

* Ignoring Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dying wish, Trump nominates hyper-conservative Amy Coney Barrett as her Supreme Court replacement. Recall that Republicans roundly rejected Merrick Garland--Obama's SCOTUS pick--in 2016 citing the proximity to the election. If Barrett is appointed, it will be the most conservative Supreme Court since 1950.

* A leak of his tax returns shows that Trump paid a total of $750 income taxes in 2016 & 2017. He earned at least $434.9 million in 2018. For reference, the average tax filer paid $12,200 in 2017--roughly 16x more than the president.

* Amazon released a report stating that 19,816 of its frontline U.S. workers at Whole Foods & Amazon factories contracted COVID from March 1 through September 19.  Meanwhile, owner Jeff Bezos' wealth has increased by over $85 billion since the onset of the pandemic in March.

* After an atrocious presidential debate, Donald Trump tests positive for COVID along with 12 other Republicans including his wife Melania. True to form, they maintain their "no mask mandatory" policy at the White House as Donald receives experimental treatment at Walter Reed Memorial Hospital at taxpayers' expense.

* The Department of Homeland Security quietly releases a notice moving to ban any "member of a Communist or other totalitarian party" from entering the U.S. or seeking citizenship What year is it again?

* Donald Trump checks out of Walter Reed Hospital 3 days after checking in, claiming he feels "20 years younger" and that COVID is nothing to fear. That night, after climbing the stairs to the White House balcony for a photo op, he appears to be gasping for breath as he removes his mask. A few days later he cancels the 2nd debate with Biden because he disapproves of the virtual format. * The number of COVID cases within the Trump Administration officially surpasses that of the entire country of New Zealand as well as Thailand, Vietnam & several other countries.

* Howie Hawkins of the Green Party is shut out of the presidential debates along with other 3rd party candidates. When invited on Morning Joe on MSNBC, they spew false claims as soon as his short segment is over. Among the claims: 3rd parties were "solely responsible for every Republican administration in the 21st Century."

* Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court for what will likely be a lifetime appointment. Among her list of accomplishments is belonging to the People of Praise cult and siding with a prison guard who repeatedly raped a pregnant teenage inmate on the job.

* Hurricane Zeta crashed ashore as a near-Category 3 storm in late October, making it the strongest on record to hit so late in the season. A simultaneous ice storm swept the Central Plains of Oklahoma & Texas, causing widespread power outages lasting days and affecting over 457,000 people. All this while California's wildfires were still smoldering. Temperatures in Oklahoma quickly rebounded to 75 degrees going into November. Climate crisis in full swing.

* After a 4-day delay while states like Nevada, Pennsylvania & Georgia counted their ballots, Joe Biden was finally declared winner of the presidential election. Celebrations filled the streets during the height of the COVID pandemic. While revelers wore masks (mostly), masks have been to only reduce spread even when worn perfectly. Little was made of this by mainstream news outlets like MSNBC or CBS despite the seriousness of the virus heading into winter.

* The day after Biden's win (November 8th), COVID cases in the U.S. reached a grim new milestone of 126,742 per day, with the world surpassing 50 million.

* It is reported that 80% of the over 230 inmates who died of COVID-19 in Texas County jails were not convicted of a crime. Many of them were simply in the pretrial detention phase unable to afford bail.

* Unsurprisingly, Trump fought his election loss by filing lawsuits in multiple states which he also lost. That didn't stop him from refusing to concede & delaying the transition, which cost precious time in the battle against COVID by delaying distribution of the vaccine while serving as a distraction from the deteriorating state of the economy and public health.

* A lawsuit reveals that managers at a Tyson meatpacking plant in Iowa placed bets on how many of its workers would get COVID. Said plant remained open even after officials urged it to shut down early in the pandemic.

* Wisconsin shooter Kyle Rittenhouse is released on $2 million bail thanks to donations by conservative donors, some of whom included actor Ricky Schroeder and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

* Actress & lesbian role model Ellen Page changes name to "Elliot Page" & announces that she's actually a man while comedian Eddie Izzard announces his pronouns are now "she/her". This comes after a year of censorship of radical feminists on social media platforms like Reddit and misogynistic attacks against those that dared to speak out against trans ideology like JK Rowling, who was sent death threats & told to 'choke on ladydick' by trans people on Twitter.

* In a dystopian first, water joined oil, gold & other commodities on Wall Street as an entity to be traded & bet upon, highlighting fears that the precious resource is becoming scarce in drought & wildfire-infested California.

* Biden announces that he plans to "re-open schools within the first 100 days" of his presidency after "asking" Americans to wear masks during that time. No national mask mandate, no stimulus check, no rent freezes, nothing of substance that will allow American workers to pause and stop spreading the virus while the vaccine has a chance to get it under control. The new boss looks a lot like the old boss.

* As of December 14th, the U.S. has lost 300,000 people to COVID with 400,000+ projected deaths by February 2021.

* To cap off a truly abysmal year, congress tentatively approves a stimulus bill direct to the people in late December... for $600. Not even enough to cover a single rent or mortgage payment for most Americans.

* Trump announces 26 pardons of close allies, some of whom include: Paul Manafort, son-in-law Jared Kushner, Roger Stone, Mark Shapiro & Margaret Hunter. No such pardons for Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Assata Shakur, Ross Ulbricht or other figures who didn't personally scratch his slimy back.

* On Christmas Day a bomb exploded in downtown Nashville, TN, injuring 3 people and damaging over 40 businesses. No fatalities were reported but the bombing was intentional. Despite the domestic terrorism vibes of it all, President Trump never bothered giving a speech or holding a press conference on the incident.

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While it seems on the surface like this year and this administration are the problem, it's much deeper than that.  Both COVID and the climate crisis are the culmination of human overpopulation & destruction of the natural world by corporations going back generations, while racism & violence were pivotal in the formation of this nation & have been present ever since.  Outrage has been building since the high-profile deaths of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner & Michael Brown before Trump ever ran for president.  Wealth inequality will only get worse as we enter late-stage capitalism unless aggressive regulations are put in place to stifle the 1%'s ability to hoard wealth & exploit workers (unlikely).  None of these problems is new to 2020 or the Trump administration, sadly.  They're just now coming to a head.

In reality, neo-liberal policies going back to Jimmy Carter have laid the groundwork for the neo-fascist Trump regime.  It's unlikely that electing more of the same out-of-touch centrists with mindsets like Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer or Pete Buttigieg is going to change anything for the better.  They care only about serving their wealthy donors & enriching themselves in the moment, not preserving the planet for future generations.  

The division between everyday working & poor people has reached a fever pitch as well.  It's become de riguer to say 'up' when the other political party says 'down'.  Our rugged individualism & defense of personal freedoms has resulted in the worst pandemic management on Earth--a fact history won't look kindly on.  Wearing a mask & washing your hands when you're unable to socially distance is not asking much.  Staying put when police detain you is the right move; likewise, not shooting a suspect with a lethal weapon should be the first, second & third course of action unless an officer's life is in imminent danger (which it usually isn't).  Waiting until all the facts are in before judging a situation should be your go-to, and we should all strive to be less hypocritical.  None of this is a guarantee that things will go your way but it's a damn sight better than being a prideful asshole.

Enemy nations see this division as an opportunity to plant additional seeds of destruction.  Not just Russia but China, North Korea, Iran & Cuba as well as the Middle East & elsewhere.  I see citizens from all over the globe cheering our downfall in the comment sections of Youtube, Reddit & Facebook.  But we're too caught up in our own drama to see the threat.  And we've become too preoccupied with the pandemic & economic fallout to tackle the looming climate crisis, which is a far wider reaching threat in the long-term.  It's starting to look like our downfall will come from within at the hands of the wealthy & powerful few.  Or maybe that's always been the case.  A corporate coup d'état in slow motion as the visionary Chris Hedges calls it.   


Where We Go From Here

If you really want to make a difference, focus on going beyond just voting every 4 years.  A single day of community organizing, protest, volunteering, mutual aid, striking, unionizing, boycotts or other grassroots work at the local level is worth a lifetime of voting in presidential elections.  Voting is fine but don't stop there.  If you're going to vote, put at least as much thought into local elections as your voice is far more impactful there.  A system in which the popular vote is overridden by the Electoral College and where gerrymandering, redlining, postal service disruptions, voter machine hacking & other forms of fuckery abound should not be the basket you put all your eggs in.  In other words, voting in presidential elections is the least you can do, not the most.  

We must bring back class struggle and solidarity along working class lines, forgoing identity politics for the time being.  To quote the late Fred Hampton, you don't fight racism with racism.  You fight racism with solidarity.  And you don't fight capitalism with Black capitalism; you fight it with socialism.  Protests and demonstrations don't accomplish much if we don't harness our collective power to shut down production by withholding our labor when necessary.  This was a common and effective tactic in the days when unions flourished but it's been all but wiped from our collective memory.  That's no accident.

Likewise, "cancelling" problematic figures individually is the right idea but is no substitute for organized boycotts of products and services.  The leftist working class ethos has been hijacked and re-imagined by wealthy liberals in key positions (the DNC, the media, academia, tech) to keep us divided and distracted.  That's why the news beams out racially charged stories for weeks on end while ignoring the growing wealth inequality affecting us all.  A race war is preferable to a class war in their eyes.  Biden's cabinet is already full of symbolic "firsts":  first woman, Black person, gay person.  This actually portends a darker future than if he hadn't made this gesture as it suggests these will be the ONLY wins we will get from this administration.  

We have to stop settling for symbolic wins.         

As Dr. Cornel West says, I'm hopeful but not optimistic.  It's important to maintain hope even in times of darkness.  How?  By looking to history.  Every period of extreme turmoil is followed by an equal or greater period of advancement & renaissance.  But it won't happen by itself.  We have to come together based on our shared humanity & not give into our darker drives to fuck over our fellow human. As long as we are living, there is hope. In fact, we don't even have to be alive. The greatest leaders have fought for a hopeful future they never saw.
Do what those who have bent the arc of history toward justice have always done: sow seeds for a garden you might never get to enjoy. For your children, your grandchildren, your neighbors, your country, your planet. We only get one.







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Thursday, December 17, 2020

Favorite Cannabis Strains of 2020

If you've followed this blog, you've seen my incessant cannabis flower reviews.  (I'm kinda obsessed with weed strains if you haven't noticed).  If you haven't, here's a short breakdown of what they're about:  The samples all come from medical dispensaries in my state with each strain being researched extensively to create a well-informed review.  But I make a point NOT to read others' reviews before sampling them so as to avoid influencing my opinion.  Placebo effect is all too real.  

Out of all the strains I've tried in 2020, I decided to keep a running list of my very favorites--the cream of the crop so to speak.  The most euphoric, soaring, tingly, giggly, uplifting strains of the bunch.  I have anxiety, depression and chronic fatigue which makes picking the right strain a bit difficult.  I need something that's uplifting and energizing without triggering anxiety and paranoia.  To complicate matters, sativas and indicas affect me backwards, with sativas making me tired and indicas being neutral.  At first I just kept this list for personal reasons so I could remember what I like but I figured, "what the heck?" Why not share it with my readers so they can decide for themselves?  Hopefully this will be a recurring article at the end of every year.  Guess it depends on me keeping my medical card current, hah.  

Without further ado, here are my Top 3 medical marijuana strains of 2020:


#3.)  Golden Goat - This strain is described as "MDMA-lite" and that's actually pretty accurate.  Or as accurate as it can be with weed.  Golden Goat induces a serotonin-esque feeling of relaxation behind the eyes that make them want to roll back in the head like what happens with the onset of Adderall or a light dose of MDMA.  It also scrambles your brain and messes with your cognition in a similar manner, making focus and problem-solving near impossible.  This is definitely a strain for maxin' and relaxin' with friends, not getting mental work done.  I originally rated it 4.7 of 5 stars but had to revise that to 4.9 after repeated tests when I was feeling better (aka not having a benzo comedown).  

#2.)  Cookie Wreck - To sum it up, Cookie Wreck is good, clean FUN.  Happy horny bud with no strings attached.  No drowsy comedown or anxiety.  A great social lubricant that will get you immersed in whatever you're doing, whether it's watching a tutorial on Youtube or doing stoned naked yoga (if that's your thing).  The high limonene content would've discouraged me from even picking this up but it was a substitute chosen by the budtender so I went with it only to be happily surprised.  If you see it, pick it up.  Especially if you like the GSC/Cookie line.  I also gave this one a 4.9 of 5 stars though I prefer it over Golden Goat by a tiny margin.  

#1.)  GMO Cookies - If I had to choose 1 word to describe GMO Cookies, it would be:  potent.  This stuff blew my wig back for REAL.  I've never smoked anything like it in my life and that's not hyperbole.  Like I wrote in my original review, it doesn't even feel entirely like weed.  It's sort of like its own trippy substance.  At 30% THC it smacks you in the face with the first toke, which is enough to keep you stoned for hours.  Because it's indica-dominant, the high isn't overwhelming in the anxiety/paranoia sense but you WILL feel impaired.  Your body numb, your eyes heavy and your mind carefree.  If you keep puffing, prepare for a 4-hour minimum trip to the Stone Zone.  And it tends to come in waves.  Put it in a one-hitter and make it last.  Every stoner should try GMO Cookies at least once.  My sample was nothing but shake and it ranked #1 out of every strain I tried in 2020 which should tell you something.  The only 5 star strain I've found yet.  



So what were YOUR favorite strains of 2020?   Share in the comments!  🥦






Monday, December 14, 2020

That Time I Tried: San Pedro Cactus

 After reading much about the trippy effects of mescaline, I was dying to get my hands on some and give it a whirl.  I grew up in Native American Church territory where peyote is used as a sacrament and medicine in all-night ceremonies around a fire where songs are sung and prayers are offered to the Creator inside a giant tipi.  This sounds a bit intense for me but it's intriguing nonetheless.  Peyote is both endangered and a Schedule I controlled substance so I opted for San Pedro cactus, an abundant and easy to obtain legal alternative that contains mescaline all the same.  


San Pedro (Trichocereus Pachanoi)


After an arduous preparation that involved skinning, drying, crushing and putting the dried material into gel capsules, I was ready to embark on this cactal journey.  Or so I thought.  I'd read everything Erowid had to offer on preparation methods, dose, side effects and other potential pitfalls and was armed with anti-nausea remedies like ginger root, peppermint tea and cannabis as nausea is one of the chief side effects of mescaline.  And boy oh boy did it hit me hard.  It was the sickest I'd been since having a stomach virus and it took everything I had not to vomit.  At times I wished I could just puke and get it over with but that's not in my nature, even when I have food poisoning or another sickness.  My body fights it 'til the bitter end.  So for 2+ hours I writhed on the floor, praying to the mescaline gods that the nausea would subside.  

While it didn't evaporate entirely, it eventually became manageable enough to get off the floor and move to the bedroom where Phase 2 of the trip kicked in:  the Closed-Eye Visual phase.  Holy crap these were intense.  They can best be described as web-like shapes, Southwestern patterns and morphing fractals coming from something that felt like my 3rd eye.  No other psychedelic has CEVs like mescaline.  I lay there exhausted as my physical body was swallowed up in the ether by this onslaught of psychedelic geometry until suddenly I was hit with a wave of physical lightness and electricity.

Boom.

Time to get up and walk to Sonic for some eats.

I was starving and full of energy which was a massive change from my earlier state of nausea and fatigue.  This is how psychedelics tend to affect me:  with random waves of extreme exhaustion and energy like a rollercoaster.  So I went with it, strapping on some shoes and walking to the nearest Sonic for some greasy tots & a sandwich, something that was totally out of character for me as I never walk anywhere and certainly not alone OR to a gross fast food place.  Could they tell I was tripping?  Meh.  What time was it?  Were they even serving lunch yet?  Thoughts raced through my swirling mind as I sat at the picnic table watching the pigeons peck at the ground.  


San Pedro powder

I somehow made it back home and devoured the food, anticipating the tiredness that always follows a big heavy meal.  I was right.  I lay down for a noon nap but sleep wouldn't come (duh) so I got back up to watch some Youtube & draw with the art supplies I'd laid out during my pre-trip planning.  But my mind was too scattered.  Even my trip playlist was too much.  I think I ended up watching vids of thunderstorms on beaches all afternoon until my (now) ex got home, then we played Kirby's Dream Course on the SNES, which I was surprisingly good at, in the 12th hour of the trip.  

All in all it lasted about 14 hours.  The effects were more energetic than shrooms or acid but not as much as MDMA, and the nausea was a deal-breaker.  I'm glad I tried it to check it off the list but it's not something I'll do again.  If you enjoy closed-eye visuals and long, sparkly phenethylamine trips, give it a try.  



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Saturday, December 12, 2020

Winter is Depressant/Opioid Season

Unto every season there is a drug; unto every drug there is a season.  And winter happens to be depressant/opiate season.  This class of drugs is relaxing & serves as a social lubricant to millions of shy, socially anxious types around the globe.  Winter is a time of introspection, social festivities, retreat from the cold & endings/conclusions.  Depressants are the ideal fit for this time of year.  There's a reason people drink on New Year's Eve & seek out the warm, comforting effects of pain relievers during the bone-chilling weeks between Christmas & Valentine's Day.  While these drugs have potential addicting effects, they can also be quite fortifying when used responsibly during the chilly winter months. 

Don't have access to benzos, booze or opioids?  No problem.  Simply meditate on their effects or journal about a memory you've had with them to bring their positive effects into the present moment.  For a safer experience, try kava-kava, Valerian root or kratom for a plant-based depressant buzz.  And follow me on Twitter @BannedintheUSSA for lots of posts & articles about opioids & depressants all season. 

Happy Winter!  Be well!  ❄









[Review] - Cannabis Flower: Purple Punch

Purple Punch is the aromatic lovechild of Granddaddy Purple and Larry OG, two famous indica-dominant staples of the weed world.  The result is a stunning grape-scented masterpiece created by Supernova Gardens and, more recently, perfected by the likes of the Jungle Boys.  It's popular among hashmakers for its gratuitous resin production & heavy stony effects.  

My particular cut contains 20% THC and 0.1% CBD and is rich in linalool, caryophyllene and limonene.  The smell is true to the name, with grape being the strongest note and hints of punch/Kool-Aid coming through on the finish.  This strain is definitely the best smelling of the bunch this time around.  The nugs are small & compact, breaking up easily despite their deceivingly hard appearance.  But it's not purple whatsoever.  I've yet to smoke a true purple strain.  


Purple Punch


The effects were nice:  moderate potency with a giggly, upbeat feel.  I wanted to play with the cats and spend time outdoors enjoying the unseasonably nice weather (seriously, it's 71 degrees in December) after smoking.  My anxiety was decreased but I didn't feel sleepy even on the comedown which is what I'm looking for.  Purple Punch is a good middle-of-the-road strain for any time of afternoon that won't knock you down like the name implies, though the smell might.  I must admit though, everything seems a bit underwhelming after trying GMO Cookies.  I should've saved it for last.  

There's no major comedown to speak of with Purple Punch which is great.  If there's one thing I hate, it's feeling foggy headed and fatigued as my high wears off.  This one just sort of evaporates as fast as it came on. You may even find yourself feeling more talkative and upbeat under its influence despite the high CBD content and strongly 'indica' leanings.  Linalool is a magical terp that deserves all the praise and is prominent in this strain.  


Container


Overall I give Purple Punch a 4.8 of 5 stars for aroma, texture, bag appeal & effects.  The price wasn't bad either.  If you like mid-range indicas that won't knock you into Sleepyland, give it a try.  I'd recommend it for anxiety, aches and pains, depression and potentially sleep problems if indicas tend to make you sleepy (sativas have more of a sedating effect on me).  It's best suited as a dessert-like treat for connoisseurs who value the aroma and flavor of weed as much as the effects.  The tart, grapey scent is mesmerizing and will remind you why these light green nugs are called "Purple".  





[Review] - Cannabis Flower: Papaya Cake

Papaya Cake is an indica-dominant cross between Wedding Cake and the highly narcotic Papaya that leans 80% indica.  It's renowned for its sweet, tropical smell and vanilla flavor that's reminiscent of, you guessed it, wedding cake.  It was created by Oni Seed Co. and is often used in extracts & distillates for its copious resin output.  

My cut tested at 27.1% THC and 0.1% CBD, with limonene, linalool and myrcene being the most prevalent terpenes.  I paid $7.50 for a half-gram.  The buds are shaped like giant teardrops with a light green hue & sparse orange hairs.  It smells fairly sour and tropical with notes of freshly baked bread that's been toasted ever-so-slightly... sort of like angel food cake smothered in pineapple icing.  The sour/acrid element hits waaaay back in the sinuses when you take a whiff, reminding you where the 'papaya' name came from.  


Papaya Cake


I roll her up in a raspberry joint and head outside to sit on the bench and enjoy the (again) unusually warm winter weather.  It burns fine & doesn't necessarily have any noteworthy flavors.  Unfortunately, the high is nothing to write home about either.  I was high but there were no fireworks.  No euphoria, warmth, lightness in the limbs, energy/focus or other effects I tend to seek in good bud.  Granted, my tolerance has been climbing due to increased use of THC/CBD Simple Cure Edibles and the uber potent GMO Cookies flower, so I may need another go-round with Papaya Cake to get a good feel for her virtues.  But the first round was a wash.  This is unexpected since the THC content is nearly as high as the GMO Cookies (which I was floored by) and the CBD content isn't too shabby either.  

The second trial is basically a repeat of the first except with MUCH colder weather--37 degrees with snow on the horizon.  I rush to finish the joint and get back inside where it's warm to write this review.  Unfortunately there are still no sparks... no fireworks or surprises I missed on the first go-round.  But it's a nice strain for a quiet winter's eve.   


Container

Overall, I give Papaya Cake a 4.7 of 5 stars for smell, potency & bag appeal.  The aroma is unique and mouthwatering, guaranteed to make you crave a trip to the local bakery or pasteleria.  Heavy indica lovers and fans of the Wedding Cake line should check it out.  I recommend Papaya Cake for insomniacs, people with anxiety, stress, pain and appetite loss.  The smell alone will make you crave fruit or sweets.  Just don't expect any waves of productivity or inspiration after consuming this one.  It's best suited for nighttime use or quiet Sundays on the couch/meditation mat.  





Wednesday, December 9, 2020

[Review] - Cannabis Edibles: Simple Cure THC/CBD Gummies (Sativa Dominant)



As a long-time fan of Simple Cure gummies and to a lesser extent, their chocolates, I've wanted to try these CBD dominant gummies for a while.  So why haven't I?  The price was a bit prohibitive:  at $28.95 per bag, I wanted to be sure they were what I really wanted.  Since I was already stocked up on every THC dominant edible in existence, now was the time.  

So what's different about these?  A lot, actually.  Each gummy contains 30 mg CBD and 10 mg THC--a 3:1 ratio--for a much smoother effect than the pure THC gummies.  That's why I opted for the sativa ones.  Normally, sativa edibles are FAR too palpitation-inducing to be enjoyable, but with the added CBD I figured they'd be just right.  (They were).  The flavor is a lot more bitter & unpleasant than the regular ones but I'm not eating them for the taste.  They're drugs, after all.  I'd prefer a bad taste and potent effects than the opposite.  By far.  But it's something they could work on.  Each bag contains 10 gummies for a total of 100 mg THC per bag and 300 mg CBD, so overall it's not a bad deal at that price.  Regular Simple Cure bags contain only 5 gummies or chocolates.  Only 15 calories per gummy.  


Simple Cure 3:1 Gummy

The effects are ideal for nighttime use.  I can tolerate a larger dose than the pure THC ones without getting anxious or paranoid, and the dreams they induce are quite pleasant.  I also find them more effective for migraines due to the CBD content.  The only real downside is the bitter taste.  If you're looking for a "high" or head change however, skip these & go for the plain THC ones.  There's a bit of a buzz but it's nothing like the others.  But if you need something with both CBD and THC for medicinal purposes, these are definitely worth the $$$.  I like to take these before bed and a THC one in the morning when I wake up too early to knock me back out, which happens a lot these days.  

Simple Cure gummies are well-made and contain reliable doses in each unit (i.e. no "hot spots" or weak spots in some pieces).  They don't melt or get too stale after opening either as long as you keep them out of the heat and sun.  I give Simple Cure THC/CBD Sativa-Dominant Gummies a 4.8 of 5 stars for quality, uniqueness & effectiveness.  Had to dock some points for the flavor but that's my only complaint.  

[Review] - Cannabis Flower: GMO Cookies

GMO Cookies, also known as "Garlic Cookies," is an indica-dominant hybrid cross between two well-known strains:   Girl Scout Cookies and Chemdawg.  The "GMO" stands for Garlic, Mushroom, Onion which is apparently what the strain smells like according to Divine Genetics, the folks who created it.  Their location is not disclosed which makes the strain's origins somewhat mysterious.  What is known is that this is one of the more potent cuts on the market today, clocking in at the upper 20% THC range.  

My cut registered at 30.8% THC with 0.1% CBD.  Must be an exaggeration, I thought.  Especially since what I got from the dispensary was 90% shake.  I paid a pretty penny for it at $15/gram which was annoying.  Myrcene, limonene and caryophyllene are the dominant terpenes.  The smell is indeed stout though I'm not getting the hype about vegetables & fungi.  It's got a skunky, savory smell that's not all that unique or noteworthy.  Certainly not appealing to the nose.  It's nearly impossible to photograph in the usual way as it's just shake--not even larf or popcorn buds.  See pic below.


GMO Cookies


The effects are overwhelming at first.  Real one-hitter-quitter stuff.  In an age where every strain could be reasonably classified as 'one-hitter-quitter,' I don't say that lightly.  This truly does the job after a single hit, but I kept going foolishly until I'd finished my usual half-joint (which is half-filled with hemp, mind you).  By the time I'd gotten down to the end of the roach, I was cackling at my cats who all seemed to be giving me stinky faces at the rank smoke emanating from my dying joint.  My mom was only making me more paranoid so I went inside where I was quickly overtaken by the high.  At first I felt like I was gonna freak out but it eventually smoothed out into a very fun, euphoric stone.  The euphoria hit behind the eyes, numbing out sensations all over my body & making me feel light all over.  My mom came to talk to me about 20 minutes after smoking and made fun of my stoned eyes so apparently I was visibly GONE.  

The high from GMO Cookies is truly unlike anything else I've smoked.  It almost doesn't feel entirely like weed.  If you try to smoke a spliff, fat joint or blunt of this without a solid tolerance, you're in for a bad time.  When they say 30% THC, they are not lying.  (Unless they are).  But with this strain it's likely accurate.  It's like smoking an edible--comes on fast like smoked weed but is psychedelic & long-lasting like an edible.  Treat it as such and you'll be rewarded with a potent high that's great for a day of laughter, reflection and mind-bending fun.  And I do mean a whole day.  4 hours later & I'm still fucked up.

What conditions would I recommend GMO Cookies for?  It's hard to say.  The effects are neither solidly indica nor sativa, bouncing from invigorating head high to full-body numbing stone and everything in between.  All I can say for sure is it's strong and long-lasting so make sure you come to it with a tolerance and/or severe medical symptoms.  It seems better suited to afternoon or evening use than bedtime and is more recreational than functional unless you find a way to microdose.  (See microdose pic below).


Appropriate sized joint of GMO Cookies :)


I give GMO Cookies a 5 out of 5 stars for potency, uniqueness & duration of effects.  What it lacks in bag appeal & smell/flavor it makes up for in effects which is where it really counts.  I enjoy small doses far more than large ones and look forward to experimenting with it in the one-hitter.  You get your money's worth and then some with this stuff, and it's truly like trying a new drug if you get the same cut I got.  This is one strain where you should definitely believe the hype.  

The takeaway lesson?  Don't judge a book by its cover...or a strain by its bag appeal.  This fugly shake would've been my dead last pick if going off looks alone.  Or even smell.  But WHOA does it pack a wallop.  



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